UK first use of 3-D imaging derived from post-mortem computed tomography imaging in UK trial

The East Midlands Forensic Pathology unit, based at the University of Leicester, has used 3D images derived from post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) scans as an aid to demonstrate injuries to a jury for the first time in evidence at a UK trial.

Professor Guy Rutty, Chief Forensic Pathologist to the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, which is part of the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, gave expert testimony at a trial at Nottingham Crown Court on June 3, 2011.

Professor Rutty showed the jury a black-and-white 3-D computer image of the victim’s skeleton derived from the post-mortem computed tomography scans to illustrate the injuries he had suffered. Professor Rutty told the court: “This is the first time we have ever used this in a UK court.”

Professor Rutty said he believed it was the UK’s first use of the technique in a courtroom trial, and explained that the achievement had meant having to secure the acceptance of these images by both the prosecution and the defence, and record the evidence provided to the jury. As a result of this outstanding success, it is planned to use the new technique in another case shortly.

Professor Rutty announced earlier this year his team had developed a new non-surgical post-mortem technique that has the potential to revolutionise the way autopsies are conducted around the world. His Unit in collaboration with the Imaging Department of the University of Leicester are leaders in research and case application for PMCT in the UK.